Published on July 15, 2016
Thriller is the sixth studio album by American singer Michael Jackson. It was released by Epic Records on November 30, 1982, as the follow-up to Jackson’s critically and commercially successful 1979 album Off the Wall. Thriller explores similar genres to those of Off the Wall, including pop, post-disco, rock and funk. Recording sessions took place on April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles with a production budget of $750,000, assisted by producer Quincy Jones.
Of the album’s nine tracks, four were written by Jackson. Seven singles were released from the album, all of which reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Three of the singles had music videos released. “Baby Be Mine” and “The Lady in My Life” were the only tracks that were not released as singles. In just over a year, Thriller became—and currently remains—the best-selling album of all time, with estimated sales of 65 million copies worldwide according to various sources. In the United States, it is the best-selling album and has become the first album ever to be certified 32 times multi-platinum for 32 million album-equivalent units. The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in 1984, including for Album of the Year.
Thriller enabled Jackson to break down racial barriers in pop music via his appearances on MTV and meeting with President of the United States Ronald Reagan at the White House. The album was one of the first to use music videos as successful promotional tools—the videos for “Thriller”, “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” all received regular rotation on MTV. In 2001, a special edition issue of the album was released, which contains additional audio interviews, demo recordings and the song “Someone in the Dark”, which was a Grammy-winning track from the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial storybook. In 2008, the album was reissued again as Thriller 25, containing re-mixes that feature contemporary artists, a previously unreleased song and a DVD, which features the short films from the album and the Motown 25 performance of “Billie Jean”. That same year the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame along with Jackson’s Off The Wall LP.
In 2012, Slant Magazine listed Thriller at number one on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s”. The album was ranked number 20 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2003, and was listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers at number three in its “Definitive 200” albums of all time. The Thriller album was included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of culturally significant recordings and the Thriller video was included in the National Film Preservation Board’s National Film Registry of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films”.